Francie wants to learn how to cook. I mean, really cook, not just heat and eat kinds of things.
Thank you, Little House on the Prairie audio books, for inspiring my children to want to chop wood, tend the farm, and cook a meal while I walk to town for a ten pound bag of salt.
(Let's not remind them that we don't have a farm, we don't need to cook on a wood stove, and I have a perfectly good box of salt right in the pantry, hmmm?)
In theory, I am a huge fan of Francie cooking some meals. HUGE fan, because do you know how much of my day is spent in the kitchen? A LOT.
If I could delegate a fraction of that time, think of how free I would be to sit around and read blogs and update my Facebook status. Heck, I might have enough time to actually comment on your posts instead of looking like an anti-social lurking jerk. (Which I am, but let's not split hairs, shall we?)
But in practice, I don't know how jazzed I am about welcoming Francie into the kitchen. In fact, I find myself gritting my teeth when I think about it too long.
You don't have to tell me that I lost Mother of the Year with that admission. I know. I am a bad mom who doesn't want to teach her child some good, practical life skills.
And why don't I want to?
Well, here's the thing. I think of the kitchen as my little area. I have embraced the fact that I spend 95.3% of my waking hours in the kitchen, and as such I know every nook and cranny like the back of my hand.
I shop and I put the food away. I organize the cabinets according to how I need to use them. I know where everything goes.
More importantly, I also CLEAN the kitchen. I wouldn't recommend coming through with a white glove, but I make sure my sink is empty and my counters are wiped every night. I wash the floors and clean out the fridge.
I have even been known to clean out my oven, but don't let that get around.
And now, Francie wants to come in and start doing things. By herself. With fire and knives and cracked eggs and flour and all sorts of assorted culinary goodies. And you know what comes with that . . . a huge mess.
I'd really would like her to learn how to cook some simple meals. I remember the independence and responsibility I felt when I first learned how to cook. There is something very beautiful about feeling capable, especially when that capability means you can feed yourself or others.
But . . . but . . .
I am going to have to let go of . . . well, let's just say I'm going to have to let go of a lot. Even when she cleans up after herself, I'm going to have to turn a blind eye and let her go. I will have to fight the urge to say "you missed a spot."
I know, it's bad . . . but I'm going to do it. We will have our own HomeFront Institute of the Culinary Arts if it kills me. And it just might. HICA, here we come . . .
What kinds of dishes would you recommend I teach Francie to make? Besides chocolate chip cookies, of course. I mean let's be real: no self-respecting cook can go without making chocolate chippers. I'm pretty sure they are the base of the food pyramid, right?
Oh, and while you're suggesting some good starting points for us, send up a prayer to St. Martha for me, will you? I'll need her to intercede on my behalf in a BIG way.